James Bond. Daniel Craig in Skyfall.

James Bond has been parodied so much that the movies now look like a parody of their own parodies. Pre-21st Century Bond movies look like comedy riffs on the Austin Powers, Our Man Flint and Matt Helm movies. The later movies turn him into a British tax-payer funded version of The Punisher.

Bond has changed his face so often he is probably from Galifrey.

The stories are often blatantly sexist and racist. The names given to the women Bond loves are often just plain ridiculous. Ian Fleming could get away with calling the heroine Truly Scrumptious in a children’s book like Chitty Chitty Bang Bang but were his editors not really thinking straight when he came to them with Goldfinger’s Pussy Galore? Just imagine the vicar’s face at the christening when Mr & Mrs Galore told him their desired name for their daughter.

Away from the original books, film-makers maintained the Carry On movie style name creation for Bond’s Love ‘em and dump ‘em lifestyle; Xenia Onatopp in Goldeneye for example.

Being loved by Bond is supposedly such a special experience for women. His technique often seems to involve just taking his clothes off and dragging theirs off as well. If he discovers a woman in the bath or hot tub he usually just gets in with her. Take the shower scene in Casino Royale where his idea of comforting Vespa after she witnesses him killing a man in cold blood is to start sucking her fingers. He cures Pussy Galore’s lesbianism with just one borderline-rape roll in the hay.

A woman with an ordinary name like Mary Smith isn’t going to get noticed by Bond until she announces herself burlesque style as something like Clita Von Bonk or Shagme Nowbond.

As to racism, take a look at Live And Let Die where virtually the entire black population of Harlem and New Orleans are stereotypical drug dealing murderous pimps, and anyone black is highly superstitious. Live And Let Die is a Blaxploitation movie full of references to voodoo and the tarot, while in Dr. No, Quarrel believes No’s island harbours a dragon (actually a tank fitted with a flame thrower). He only discovers the truth as it incinerates him.

The gadgets always seem absurdly convenient. The most ridiculous has to be the defibrillator kit in the car in Casino Royale which Bond uses to resurrect himself on Satellite instructions received from London after he is poisoned. He immediately goes back to the gaming tables before going on a car chase and fights in a collapsing Venetian building, like you would after a major heart attack.

Bond movies invariably take place in highly exotic locations, The Greek Algarve, Jamaican, Hong Kong, etc. If I was a super-villain my secret base would be in Rhyl in North Wales or Morecambe, Lancashire. I doubt if Bond would ever find me.

What follows are seven detailed reasons why 007 sucks ass.

7. A secret agent just about everyone knows

Daniel Craig as James Bond
Photo: MGM/Sony

Espionage is all about anonymity and blending into the wall-paper. John Le Carre was quick to note how spies are by nature and definition boring people who hardly anyone notices. A spy, like a pickpocket daren’t even get his activity even suspected or his job becomes virtually impossible. The spy who turns up all guns blazing, seducing every woman in sight, blowing up buildings, tearing round in high powered expensive cars and spraying bullets all over the place is going to draw attention to himself, especially in the Youtube and digital camera era. In The World Is Not Enough 007 had a boat chase down the Thames, switched to a hot air balloon and ended up hanging off the Millennium Dome. It’s the sort of thing tourists take photos of.

Bond had also previously led a lengthy news-making speedboat chase through Louisiana in Live & Let Die, fought a kendo warrior in a Venetian glass factory in Moonraker, without attracting any attention from security or from the cops even when he dropped the preposterously clad assassin through the window onto the instruments of a St. Mark’s Square orchestra in mid-performance.

In Octopussy, Bond dressed as a clown to diffuse an atom bomb before the entire audience at a circus. What is really bizarre in that circus scene was Bond racing against time to get to the bomb but having time to do his own clown grease paint up perfectly on the way in. In A View To A Kill he ran round the Eifel Tower with a gun in his hand. He then drove a stolen fire engine that was actually in use at a burning San Francisco skyscraper, (presumably leaving other Zorin employees to burn to death for lack of assistance) in order to pursue the villains, and later fought Zorin on The Golden Gate Bridge in broad daylight. Somehow, no one was drawn to this event even by the burning airship tethered to the bridge.

In Goldeneye, Bond trashed half of St. Petersburg with a stolen tank.

Any of these antics would finish Bond’s career quicker than Blofeld’s Piranhas. There would be so many photos and enough video footage to tell everyone who he is. He’d be lucky to get a license to breed whippets, let alone a license to kill.

Bond’s fame invariably precedes him even without him drawing attention to himself with such a swathe of destructive fanfare. The villains usually have a file on him before they even meet him, and he is often attacked before he gets to the hotel he is staying at for his latest adventure.

What is bizarre is how literally everyone knows him. In Diamonds Are Forever, Bond killed a man called Peter Franks and assumed his identity. Before he could dispose of Franks’ body, Bond was spotted by the latest one night stand, Tiffany Case who thought the dead man was the famous James Bond. Connery’s Bond / Franks also pretended to know the spy.

Why would a prostitute and minor league diamond trafficker know who James Bond was? Austen Powers might have promoted himself shamelessly as an ‘International Man Of Mystery’, but that is for a knowing comedy. Bond is supposed to be the real deal. A spy who is about as incognito and lacking in fame as Paul McCartney is not going to get many missions.

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